Becky Brown reproduction star,
with a bronzey/cretonne look and large scale figures.
"The Popular New Cretonnes"
Woman's World in the twenties.
The border shows children's prints and florals.
Star quilt with cretonne alternate blocks and border,
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Woman with cretonne drape about 1880
Cretonnes, like earlier chintzes, were designed as furnishing fabrics,not really meant for clothing.
After the Civil War, as America went crazy for calico. Small-scale dress prints manufactured by American mills dominated women's at-home clothing and their quilts. Large-scale prints, the European chintzes that had been so popular in quilts made before the war, came to be "chintzy" in their eyes.
Charm quilt about 1880
Charm quilts were one result of the Calico Craze.
They may include a few large-scale furnishing prints
but the point here was collecting small-scale prints.
A similar quilt about 1910
with a cretonne on the reverse.
In 1861 the Ohio Cultivator warned women against two things:
2) And "old fashioned 'curtain calico' with its monstrous figures and glaring combination of colors."
An old-fashioned chintz quilt
Do NOT try this at home!
A new fashioned cretonne top about 1890.
You couldn't get any less elegant than this, according
to the fashion arbiters.
You can see how "chintzy" began to imply something cheap and unfashionable.
By the 1870s manufacturers avoided the word chintz and used the word cretonne. Cretonnes were the "proper thing for draperies, hangings, furniture covering, etc." according to the Sears catalog in the 1890s.
Cover of the Ladies Home Journal in 1921.
Chintz was back for decorating
What's the difference between a chintz and a cretonne? Time. Like the words reticule and handbag,
or petticoat and slip.
Comforter about 1900
The red and pink ground cretonnes here have a texture.
They are twills with a diagonal raised surface rather
than plain weave.
American cretonnes were usually printed with synthetic dyes, sometimes on textured goods such as twills or crepes, so one way to tell a late-nineteenth-century cretonne from an earlier chintz is by texture. Early chintzes were rarely printed on a twill or a cotton sateen. Later cretonnes are often coarser or sleazier fabric.
Cretonnes can be beautifully drawn and printed.
This one is French, printed in the late 19th-century bronze shades.
Another characteristic of later cretonnes is better registration. Improved technology permitted printers to precisely align figures. Greens were a single step process with no overlap of blue and yellow as in the old overprinted foliage. Backgrounds fit the figures without the overlap and outlines found in early chintzes.
Did the cretonne on the right bordering the triangle quilt fade?
Or was it always so shadowy?
Original document print for a cretonne repro
in my Arnold's Attic line of several years ago
Lots of olive and lots of pink in a bronze-style colorway.
That new brown style made these large-scale prints novel.
This one imitates a woven tapestry.
Many shades of blue were available
Cretonnes were popular for the back of an all-calico quilt or comforter.
They were sometimes described as robe prints.
Black was newly available to printers so for the first time we see black-ground
Carol Gilham Jones
The red colorway of the leaf print above.
Becky Brown, Ladies Album.
Pink was a background possibility in the bronze style prints.
Another of Becky's blocks with a grayed blue figure
on medium brown ground.
Cretonnes are made to fussy-cut.
My Ladies' Album collection had an exotic Jacobean floral cretonne.
We at Moda explore these beautifully drawn late 19th-century cretonnes quite a bit. As I mentioned last week, Edyta Sitar has interpeted many bronze-style prints in small and large scale.
Edyta Sitar for Laundry Basket Quilts
Edyta Sitar for Laundry Basket Quilts
A blue cretonne-style print from my Alice's Scrapbag
And a pink one from my upcoming collection
Old Cambridge Pike
Two by Nancy Gere
Look for romantic, well registered, naturalistic florals.
Here's your chance to use blacks in a repro quilt.
Celeste from Moda
The blue really captures the period color...
And it will not fade like the old cretonnes.
Vin du Jour by Three Sisters.
What To Do With Your Stack of Stars?
Copy the Quilt at the Top of the Page
The quilt from the LACMA collection at the top of the page has inspired several
of today's quiltmakers.
Judy Severson---the unmitered stripe is
an important part of the look here.
Barb at Fun with Barb
Barb has done it at least twice.
Jerrye Van Leer
One More Thing About Cretonne
Not elegant. Chintzy as a matter of fact.
If an American word has cheap connotations you can always Frenchify it. (Do you French readers know we do that in America?) We pronounce the names of inexpensive stores as if they were French.
Zhay See Pennay for JC Penney
Tar-zhay for Target
When fabric manufacturers needed a new name for furnishing scale fabrics they came up with Cretonne, derived from Creton, a French town that had specialized in manufacturing a coarse cloth made from hemp. Cretonne (pronounced kree-tawn' by women who remember when it was popular) was synonymous with the word "chintz" between 1870 and 1950.
Pardon! as we try to say in French.